By: Anthony Campo
WHAT ARE MACRONUTRIENTS?
Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, and for other body functions. Since “macro” means large, macronutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts. There are three macronutrients:
• Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel.
• Carbohydrates are easily used by the body for energy.
• All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy.
• Carbohydrates are needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly.
• Carbohydrates can be stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy.
• Carbohydrates are important in intestinal health and waste elimination.
• Carbohydrates are mainly found in starchy foods (like grain and potatoes), fruits, milk, and yogurt. Other foods like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and cottage cheese contain carbohydrates, but in lesser amounts.
• Growth (especially important for children, teens, and pregnant women)
• Tissue repair
• Immune function
• Making essential hormones and enzymes
• Energy when carbohydrate is not available
• Preserving lean muscle mass
• Normal growth and development
• Energy (fat is the most concentrated source of energy)
• Absorbing certain vitamins ( like vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids)
• Providing cushioning for the organs
• Maintaining cell membranes
• Providing taste, consistency, and stability to foods
WHAT ARE MICRONUTRIENTS?
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals required in small amounts that are essential to our health, development, and growth.
Understanding the difference between glucose and sugar
– There are essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, but no such thing as essential carbohydrates/sugar. The body needs glucose to survive, NOT sugar.
Your body’s prime source of energy is glucose. In fact, some cells in your body, such as brain cells, can get energy only from glucose.
The first line of defense in maintaining energy is to break down carbohydrates, or glycogen, into simple glucose molecules — this process is called glycogenolysis. Next, your body breaks down fats into glycerol and fatty acids in the process of lipolysis. The fatty acids can then be broken down directly to get energy, or can be used to make glucose through a multi-step process called gluconeogenesis. In gluconeogenesis, amino acids can also be used to make glucose.
In the fat cell, other types of lipases work to break down fats into fatty acids and glycerol. These lipases are activated by various hormones, such as glucagon, epinephrine and growth hormone. The resulting glycerol and fatty acids are released into the blood, and travel to the liver through the bloodstream. Once in the liver, the glycerol and fatty acids can be either further broken down or used to make glucose.
*** The body’s preferred source of energy is Carbohydrates therefore the regulation of carbohydrates in some manner is pivotal for achieving goals through the various ends of the spectrum.
Here is an example of some common guidelines and recommendations given to individuals looking to improve their health through healthcare professionals from a national diabetes and obesity educational organization.
What’s wrong with this advice?
When it comes to eating healthy to lose weight, the three most important steps are:
1. Take in fewer calories than you burn during the day.
2. Eat less fat (especially saturated fats and trans fat) than you currently eat.
3. Eat smaller portions of high fat and high calorie foods than you currently eat.
Portion sizes are often smaller than we think. Use this chart as a guide for portion sizes:
Portion Size Same size as
1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta An ice cream scoop
1 1/2 ounces of low fat cheese Four dice
3 ounces of lean meat or fish A deck of cards or
a cassette tape
2 tablespoons low-fat peanut butter A ping pong ball
*This advice places zero emphasis on nutritional science, and are the fundamental flaws contributing to an increase in obesity and diabetes.
Let’s construct a much better plan using the science we have learned –